There is one thing no one ever tells you when you become a parent: that moments of abject terror will strike you all the time. Small things, that normally would be a minor annoyance, not worthy of mention otherwise, are transformed into heart stopping rides to the depth of the soul. Where normally you would swear and be slightly inconvenienced, you are now praying to God that nothing happens, and the DCFS doesn't find out. Take, for example, being locked out of a hotel room -- like I was this weekend.
I knew the second I saw the door closing it was going to lock behind me. I had just pushed a luggage cart our into the hall, and as I turned around to go back in I knew I was too far from the door to catch it before it shut. I lunged anyway, and my hand hit the knob just as the lock clicked.
I didn't have the key. I was lucky I had on pants, as I was dressing for a wedding when the cart caught my eye. I had just plugged in my curling iron to do my hair. And I had just sat Meg down on the floor to eat cheddar bunnies while I did that. Now she was locked in a room, alone, with a hot curling iron. Oh, and glassware. And medications in my open suitcase. And a half bottle of champagne from helping the bride dress. I had locked her in Guns 'n Roses dressing room.
I started to freak out.
I knew I had to get a key, but I didn't want to leave the door. I worried she would come over and try to open it, and walk out into the hall, or slam her fingers. I worried she would start a fire with the curling iron. I worried she would start choking on a cheddar bunny. I started to rock back and forth, and jump up and down. I don't know why I thought making a spectacle of myself in an empty hotel hallway would help, but for some reason it was my first course of action. And then? You have never seen a fat girl run so fast.
All the way down to the front desk I pictured the horrible things that could be going on in that room. I saw fires, flood, and pestilence. For just a moment I was very thankful I had already put on my bra and Spanx, since no one needs to see that much jiggling, but then I was right back to picturing the worst.
I got to the front desk horribly out of breath, since I am not only a bad parent but totally out of shape. "Baby, curling iron, door lock, room 661," I coughed out, hoping someone would go rescue Meg if I collapsed on the spot. Luckily adrenaline kept my heart pumping and my legs moving, and I was off again like a shot.
By the time I got back to the room I was figuring out how to tell Ryan I had caused our child's death. I was thinking of whether or not we could sue the hotel, or the luggage cart company, or my parents for making me so fucking stupid. I hoped Meg's death and/or maiming wouldn't ruin the wedding. As I slid the keycard into the lock I figured at best we would soon have to have a new robotic hand made for Meg due to the horrible burn she had suffered by now. I pictured the telethon to pay for it.
The door swung open.
There sat Meg, eating cheddar bunnies. "Hi," she said, and then went back to the task at hand. I don't think she had even noticed I was gone.
My heartbeat slowed. I stopped sweating. I slid down the back of the door the floor and watched as Meg toddled over to me, bunny in hand, to feed me. I thanked God the worst hadn't happened. The world came back into perspective. My panicked parent goggles went back into my pocket.
Still, I kept the room key in my bra the rest of the weekend. Better safe than sorry.